Warning: this actually happened, and there’s video to prove it.
First off, the setting: Mount Dora, Florida.
The context: an April meeting of the Mount Dora Republican Club. Two Republican candidates for Congress, John Ward and Fred Costello, were asked about Puerto Ricans moving to Florida. Here is what Ward said:
“I don’t think they [Puerto Ricans] should be allowed to register to vote,” Ward said. “And it’s not lost on me that I think the Democrat Party is really hoping they can change the voter register in a lot of counties and districts. And I don’t think they should be allowed to do that.”
He also said this, “We should be looking to put the Puerto Ricans back in their homes. So the idea that they can come to the mainland United States, I don’t necessarily have a problem with that. But I think we should be thinking about it in terms of getting them back home and providing the capital and resources to rebuild Puerto Rico, which I honestly think is where they belong.”
Here’s the video to prove it (from Costello’s YouTube channel);
As expected, Costello made it a point to say that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and they can move anywhere in the U.S, even if they vote for Democrats.
“I absolutely disagree. Puerto Ricans are citizens of the United States of America. They have a right to go anywhere in the United States,” Costello said. “Do I want them coming here and registering Democrat? Of course not. I want them to understand that they moved here for opportunity. They moved to Florida because they want to take care of their families. And if they want individual liberty and personal responsibility and equal opportunity, we, the Republican Party. need to show them why we’re the party that they need to gravitate to.”
On Monday, POLITICO reported this: “Political newcomer John Ward clarified his comments Monday to POLITICO to stress that he believes Puerto Rican voters are U.S. citizens and that they should be allowed to register to vote in Florida if they decide to become permanent residents of the state.”
Talk about damage control.
(H/T Orlando Sentinel)